Why is Home Sharing for iOS different than Home Sharing in iTunes?

I’ve been pretty irked about the new iOS iTunes Home Sharing, so I thought maybe I’d write up a post, and you guys could help me understand it a little bit better at this point.

Home Sharing for OS X

In iTunes on OS X, since version 9, Apple has had a technology called Home Sharing. The OS X version of Home Sharing lets you “stream and transfer music, videos, and more with up to five other computers on your local network.” The important thing that I’d like to emphasize here is the “transfer.” Home Sharing was built to help people move their purchased content from one machine on their network to another. It’s super useful, and I use it on a daily basis, but now Apple’s introduced iOS iTunes Home Sharing, which is essentially the same thing as sharing your iTunes library on a network.

Both the OS X version of Home Sharing and iTunes Library sharing let users stream content, while only Home Sharing would let you push or pull media from one iTunes library to another.

Home Sharing in iOS

But now, with iOS iTunes Home Sharing, Apple’s only letting people stream content to an iOS device. That means that Home Sharing now has two very different definitions on two different platforms. The iOS iTunes Home Sharing lets users “play your entire iTunes library from anywhere in the house. If it’s on your Mac or PC, you can play it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch over a shared Wi-Fi network.

So here we are—two technologies named the same thing, but described in two very different ways. It’s not very Apple like, and unless they have something up their sleeves about streaming media that we’re not privy to just yet, it doesn’t make much sense at all.

As far as I can tell, AirPlay seems to be the technology that lets you push content from one device to another, and iOS iTunes Home Sharing lets you pull your media from another iTunes library.

Is this as simple as one pushes and the other pulls, or am I missing something entirely? Can we expect that we’ll eventually see iOS iTunes Home Sharing letting users permanently move data over the air, from one iTunes Library to another, like its OS X counterpart? Because if you ask me, that’s what Home Sharing has been defined as up until this point, and it’d be a shame if we never see it come to iOS devices.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of Macgasm.net. And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio